Ahh, upside down cake...how you please me so. No matter what kind of fruit I use, whether it's persimmons, plums, or in this case, cherries, this dessert always looks so beautiful. For my newest upside down cherry amaretto cake, I wanted to make it extra special. Marinate the cherries in amaretto, add hazelnut flour to the cake, and use the marinated amaretto cherry juice to make the finishing whipped cream. It's the dreamiest combination and well...just look at that beauty!
Upside Down Cherry Amaretto Cake
- 2 cups cherries pitted and halved (12 ounces)
- ¼ cup amaretto (62 ml)
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons melted butter (28 grams)
- ½ cup brown sugar (100 grams)
- 1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour (185 grams)
- ¾ cup hazelnut flour (84 grams)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup softened butter (113 grams)
- ⅔ cup granulated sugar (133 grams)
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ½ cup buttermilk (125 ml)
- 1 cup heavy cream (250 ml)
- ¼ cup powdered sugar (32 grams)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch cake pan.
- Combine cherries with amaretto and 1 tablespoon sugar, stirring to combine. Let sit for 30 minutes. Drain cherries, reserving liquid.
- Mix together 2 tablespoons melted butter with ½ cup brown sugar. Spread mixture in bottom of cake pan in an even layer. Arrange cherry halves on top, cut sides facing down. Gently press down on cherries into sugar mixture.
- Make cake batter. Combine flour with hazelnut flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- Beat together butter with sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, fully incorporating the egg before adding the next. Add vanilla and stir to combine.
- Add half of flour mixture, stirring just until combined. Add buttermilk, then remaining flour mixture stirring just until combined. Pour cake batter on top of cherries, spreading it out into an even layer. Bake cake for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Remove cake from oven and let cool 20 minutes. Use an offset spatula or knife to loosen edges of cake. Place a plate on top and carefully invert cake. Let cool completely.
- Whip heavy cream with powdered sugar until stiff peaks form. Add 3 tablespoons reserved amaretto syrup and whip for another minute. Slice cake and serve with amaretto whipped cream.
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
If you ever made an upside down cake before, this recipe should be familiar. If you haven't, welcome to the world of wonderfully moist cakes topped with caramelized fruits! It's a great place to be.
Unlike traditional recipes, we're going to take an extra step and marinate the cherries in amaretto. Amaretto is an almond flavored liquer. It's strong on its own but when you combine it with fresh cherries, the flavors are subtle. Marinate the cherries for 30 minutes or longer if you want a stronger almond flavor.
Then, combine melted butter with brown sugar and spread it in an even layer on the bottom of a 9-inch cake pan. You can make caramel and pour that into the pan instead but I just think this method is easier. Also, whenever I make caramel, it tends to get too dark after the cake has been baked.
Drain the cherries but make sure to save that liquid. Arrange the fruit with the cut side facing down, directly on top of the sugar layer. Gently press down on the fruit so that it stays in place.
Now it's time to work on the cake batter. I wanted to add a little extra nuttiness to the cake so I added ½ cup of hazelnut flour. If you can't find hazelnut flour you can make your own. Just get hazelnuts and pulse them in the food processor until you get a fine crumble!
You can use hazelnuts with the skin or off, just be aware that the flour will be darker with the skin on. I also recommend using roasted hazelnuts for a stronger hazelnut flavor.
Cream together the room temperature butter with sugar until it gets nice and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, followed by the vanilla. Then, add the dry ingredients alternating with the buttermilk. Alternating between dry and wet helps the dry ingredients incorporate better into the batter.
Spread the cake over the cherries in an even layer and bake the upside down cherry amaretto cake for about 45 minutes. I like to place the cake on a baking sheet just in case some of the caramel oozes out.
Let the cake cool just for 20 minutes, then carefully flip it over. If you wait for the cake to cool completely, it can stick to the pan.
While the dessert is cooling, make the amaretto whipped cream. Whip heavy cream with powdered sugar until stiff peaks form. Then, add the amaretto syrup and continue to whip the whipped cream for about another minute. The whipped cream will become softer and lose some of the stiff peaks because of the amaretto but it should still be creamy.
You can also skip the whipped cream entirely and serve this cake with ice cream if you prefer or just by itself.
I enjoyed this dessert both warm and at room temperature. I just don't recommend eating it straight from the fridge because the cake stiffens up. If you do chill the cake in the fridge, just pop it in the microwave and it'll be as good as new.
Everything about this upside down cherry amaretto cake was divine. The cake is so wonderfully soft and moist and the cherries add a pop of juiciness to the cake. Even the amaretto whipped cream adds a great creamy element to the cake. Another successful upside down cake recipe to add to the list!
For more cake inspiration check out this blackberry apricot buckle cake!